If you’ve studied online marketing for any length of time, you’ve likely heard it recommended that you have some type of free offer on your website that you give away in exchange for a visitor’s name an email address. You may have even landed on this blog as a result of the FREE marketing toolkit that we offer here. Here at Smart Simple Marketing we call that free offer your “Problem Solving Gift”.
Turning that free gift into clients and sales requires that you stay in touch with the new subscriber and develop a relationship with them. The easiest way to do this is by setting up a series of automated email messages, also known as autoresponders, that are automatically delivered to your new friend once they sign up for your free gift.
Clients and students often ask me to help them come up with the content for these messages because they struggle with what to say that sounds engaging and authentic. That’s why I thought this article by Justin Gray, CEO of LeadMD – Marketing Automation Experts, was so useful. Check it out!
Content Tips to get Better Performance from Your Marketing Automation Software
To most businesses, marketing automation software and content marketing make a powerful pair. But they will never reach their full potential until the content being used matches up specifically with what customers actually want to receive. Software alone can’t rejuvenate your marketing efforts, but neither can content. Here are three keys to making your content and your marketing automation software work together to give you the best results for your campaigns.
Ditch the shackles
With the hubbub surrounding content marketing, you may believe that you need to continually create as much content as you can in every medium imaginable. And because of the high cost of marketing automation software, management may think the only way to maximize it is to pump a huge amount of content through it. These notions are both wrong.
Tip: Start fresh with only one goal in mind: Be interesting. Don’t even begin to consider sending meaningless filler to prospects because you feel the pressure to deliver something — anything — to get the ROI on that expensive software. It’s better to deliver two exceptional pieces of content per month through your marketing automation, than to post content that doesn’t hold any real value twice a week.
Start with light conversation
When reaching out to new prospects, the best way to break the ice is to start slowly. Begin with casual small talk and build a relationship from there. Person-to-person dynamics almost always begins this way (as we see with sales), and marketing automation software allows you to bring this same methodology into content marketing.
Tip: Make your first thee pieces of content to new prospects short, causal, and wholly educational (no selling allowed yet). Once the channel of communication gradually opens, you can begin to nurture with more hearty pieces of education, then get into the promotional content.
Examples of “light” content include a short video teaser about an upcoming product release, an infographic, or blog post that’s no more than 400 words. As with a developing friendship, sharing a range of information in new and interesting ways builds the foundation of the relationship.
Even if you are immensely proud of a new video, resist the urge to send it out to everyone — only some of your prospects are ready for it. Your content at each stage of the funnel needs to reflect the relationship you have built with your prospect up until that point. Your marketing automation takes on the tedious work of partitioning off different content for different prospects (hey, there is something automatic to this), so you don’t have to.
Tip: Create content for various stages in the sales funnel:
- Early in the funnel: Your goal is to simply bait the hook. Don’t deliver a piece of content that could be seen as a sales pitch. Instead, send a brief email welcoming them warmly to your brand.
- Mid stage of the funnel: This is analogous to setting the hook. You can make offers here, but be sure there is very little risk involved. For example, offer a free download that provides an immediate reward.
- Late stage of the funnel: This is similar to reeling in the catch. At this point, a good foundation of trust should be established between you and the customer so you can craft a sales offer that is fair and packaged in a way that highlights the benefits in it for them. After your leads are converted, be sure to make the most of the metrics and analysis tools your marketing automation software offers so you can learn what content worked optimally and what content still needs tweaking.
When in doubt of how best to maximize your content through marketing automation, remember that above all else it should be meaningful rather than abundant. Being interesting will always win over death by content, especially when that content is singing with software.
ABOUT JUSTIN GRAY
Justin Gray is the CEO and chief marketing evangelist at LeadMD. The company helps businesses generate and manage leads better through marketing automation processes and technologies. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.